Something To Tell You is the second album from Los Angeles sister rock trio Haim, and it’s just sort of fine. Granted after four years it was always going to be hard to live up to their first album 2013’s Days Are Gone. In that album Haim channeled their many musical influences, ranging from Fleetwood Mac and Wilson Phillips to Timbaland, into creating a pop-rock album that was varied and musically interesting and boded well for their future efforts. On Something To Tell You the band has evolved some but at times seems stuck in a bit of creative rut.
The album starts with the catchy and slick “Want You Back”, a fun drum and guitar driven song that mixes in some synth pop and Passion Pit style electronic flourishes to create one of the better songs on the album. Unfortunately , this Fleetwood Mac with modern pop influenced production style carries through the first half of the album. Each song adds something a bit different, “Ready For You” has a bit of a tropical house influence in the first half, and the title track has a cool pulsing guitar on it, but in the end all the songs up through “Kept Me Crying” tend to blend together.
Luckily on the second half of the album Haim bring in a ringer, Rostam Batmaglij, who is a fantastic producer and who seems to push Haim out of their comfort zone into a bit more of an interesting sound. “Kept Me Crying” has a noticeable guitar solo that isn’t hidden away behind layers of sound as on previous tracks, and “Walking Away” at times sounds like 90’s boy band song combined with modern minimalist beats. Finally the two closing songs are some of the best with “Right Now” combining simple but evocative lyrics with excellent production to create one of the years best pop-rock songs and “Night So Long” a dark moody ballad that is some of Haim’s best work.
Something To Tell You has some really interesting musical ideas for the band to explore but the problem is they only find them on about half the album. The first half of this album is, outside of “Want You Back”, forgettable at best and at worst it sounds like a collection of Fleetwood Mac outtakes with modern production. When Haim drop the slick and overdone homogeny of the first half, they manage to create some really interesting and memorable music. Even then however, the lyrics are mostly forgettable and I still wish their music would do more to showcase what good musicians they are. The standout tracks of “Want You Back”,”Found It In Silence”, “Walking Away”, “Right Now”, and “Night So Long” demonstrate what an interesting and enjoyable band Haim can be. It’s just a shame it’s buried under stuff that all sounds the same.
Something To Tell You (Polydor, 2017)